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Ghoulies -- they are different

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The dominant off-season story for the Bruins -- other than the fundamental issue of whether there will even be a season next season -- has to do with their whimsical goaltender who is threatening to pull a "Garbo."

Tim Thomas says he needs to escape the madding crowd and find a quiet place to contemplate the deeper meaning of things and "reconnect with friends and family," neither of which -- apparently -- includes his team and teammates. Nor does the fact that such a luxury might cost him roughly four million U.S. large seemingly deter him.

Given the nature of these sporting times it's reasonable to wonder what tricks Thomas might have up his heavily padded sleeves. Could this be a contract-renegotiation gambit? He's entering the last year of his rather team-friendly pact. Or is it a tactic aimed at manipulating a trade to some distant NHL outpost where his politics might be more compatible with the whims of the local populace? Scorning the White House and thumbing your nose at the President plays a lot better in the golden west.

But this is not your ordinary jock. Moreover, he's a goalie and there are no rarer birds in any game. When Tim Thomas declares it's simply a matter of his wanting to be alone, you probably need to believe him. Goalies are like that; especially the great ones. The tradition runs deep.

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